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10 Tips For Healthful Eating Habits

10 Tips For Healthful Eating Habits

By Dr. June Stride View more articles

Too skinny or too fat? Either way, there’s an eating problem. Good eating habits don’t just happen, but with a little planning ahead, you can make it more likely to happen.

 It’s not just runway models that have eating problems; it could be you or your children, too. Today, anorexia and obesity are both serious concerns. The truth is that some of us are ‘too busy’ doing our own thing and have relinquished responsibility about the all-important nutritional education that affects our life and the life and  life style of our children.

10 Hints to Develop Healthful Eating Habits

Building healthful habits is a project best started as early as possible and within the framework of family. The following are a few questions designed to open your eyes to potential weight/eating problems.

  1. 1. For which meals, daily, does the family sit together to eat? (Not only is this the best way to encourage healthful eating, it is the primary time to bond, convey values and develop trust through concerned communication.)
  2. 2. Do you personally convey the notion that “we eat to live” or “we live to eat”? Whichever you subscribe to will affect your choice of foods and therefore the meals served/available in your home. (Try not to use food as a reward or as the focus of special occasions. Consider substituting a fun activity for an eating orgy!)
  3. 3. Who does the shopping for the family? Are selections of food items based upon nutritional needs or satisfying the taste buds? (Having your children do the shopping can be good or bad depending on how educated your child is about making selections. Bringing home impulse items and fast foods rather than foods that make a well-rounded meal falls into the ‘watch out’ category!)
  4. 4. Does your family ‘grab something to eat’ on the run on a regular basis? If so, for which meals a day and how frequently? (Surprisingly, many parents admit that they and their kids go to school without breakfast, eat a fast food lunch with friends and pick up a meal in a local eatery for dinner or eat a TV dinner. Kids who consistently eat alone and/or eat nutrition-free foods are apt to have issues with weight, lack of energy and sometimes academic and behavioral difficulties!)
  5. 5.  Do you keep healthful snacks in the house or are you a junk food junkie? (We all love to snack, kids in particular. Keeping crisp fresh fruits and vegetables handy allows for quick, easy and nutritious snacking.)
  6. 6. Do your kids eat alone on a regular basis? (If so, do not be surprised when their food choice and intake reflects ease of selection and preparation rather than nutritional content!)
  7. 7. Do your kids eat fast food meals regularly? (True, the fast food industry is finally beginning to clean up their act and offer lower fat/healthier choices. But, let’s face it, if we start our kids out on mega meals, high in fat and/or sugar, that’s what they’re probably what they will continue to order.)
  8. 8. Do you try to help your child to become a knowledgeable food consumer? Can he/she read food labels and determine the value of packaged foods?
  9. 9. Are you aware of when, where and how much your child eats/drinks? (Do you keep healthful juices and milk available rather than soda and sugar filled taste satisfiers? Thankfully and finally, schools are beginning to remove soda machines and replace them with fruit juice and water selections.)
  10. 10.  Do you exercise for fun and for health? (Most kids emulate their parents. If you are a couch potato who avoids walking and any form of daily sport or exercise, you are helping to set the scene for your kids to do the same.)

No doubt there are areas for which you know changes are needed. Eating is not only a pleasure and a necessity, but it also impacts on our health in the short and long term. Make no mistake, guiding out kids to healthful habits IS a parent/guardian responsibility.

Bright Idea! Have your family help in making the weekly menu. Variety is good for all. Menu planning could be a fun family affair when each member gets to devise, perhaps help shop and prepare a meal of choice. Make nutrition a focus and be certain that fruits and vegetables predominate.